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Trump on Kavanaugh allegations: “I feel terribly for him”

The president also wants the Senate process to play out because “there shouldn’t be even a little doubt.”

Trump in the White House in September 2018.
Trump in the White House in September 2018.
Tasos Katopodis-Pool via Getty Images
Emily Stewart covers business and economics for Vox and writes the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he feels “terribly” for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his family, and called for the process to play out because “there shouldn’t be even a little doubt.”

After California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school, Kavanaugh’s nomination has been imperiled. The judge vehemently denies the charges.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Kavanaugh, calling him an “incredible individual” and “great judge” and expressed regret about the allegations against him.

“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you, I feel so badly for him,” Trump said. “This is not a man that deserves this.”

Many Republicans have attacked Democrats in the Senate and, specifically, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein for their handling of the allegations. Ford sent a letter to Feinstein in July outlining the allegations against her and asked for her identity not to be revealed. The letter did not come out until last week.

Trump echoed the GOP on Tuesday in his criticisms of the Democrats’ process: “That’s what you have hearings for, you don’t wait until the hearing is over and all of a sudden bring it up,” Trump said. “When Sen. Feinstein sat with Judge Kavanaugh for a long period of time, a long, long meeting, she had this letter. Why didn’t she bring it up?”

The president said that Democrats “obstruct” and “resist” and are “lousy” on policy and as politicians. “But they’re very good on obstruction,” he said. “And it is a shame because this is a great gentleman.”

Trump, who has faced misconduct allegations of his own in the past and reportedly believes those accused should “deny, deny, deny and push back” on allegations, did not dismiss Ford altogether. As he praised Kavanaugh, he also said that he believes his accuser should be heard, echoing comments Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to the president, made on Monday.

“We should go through a process, because there shouldn’t even be a little doubt,” he said. Trump added that “hopefully, the woman will come forward” and “state her case,” as will Kavanaugh, before the Senate.

“We will see what happens,” he said. “But I just think he is at a level that we rarely see — not only in government, anywhere in life. And honestly I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman, and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will hold a public hearing for both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify about the allegations. The committee was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Thursday, but the vote has been delayed. Kavanaugh has agreed to take part in the hearing. Ford, who was very reluctant to come forward in the first place, has not.

Trump made similar remarks on Monday, calling Kavanaugh and “outstanding judge,” criticizing Democrats, and saying he would rely on the process. He dismissed a question about whether Kavanaugh should withdraw his nomination as “ridiculous.”